Celebration Church ~ 20th anniversary

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The main entrance to Celebration Church’s Arena Location

 

Sunday I drove to my church, Celebration Church in Jacksonville. It has four locations in Jacksonville, one in Zimbabwe, and one in Paris. I attend at the arena in the Baymeadows area of Jacksonville. I was in a state of anticipation, as we will be celebrating the church’s  20th anniversary the entire month of November.

On the way to church, I prayed there would be not one pretzel stuffed with spinach and cheese left in the cafe. I got on line, with resolve to purchase only a large coffee. When I got up to the counter there was one spinach and cheese pretzel left. This is absolute proof that the old adage is true, the devil does indeed go to church. [LOL] I took a deep breath, prayed through and got the coffee. Whew!

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What profoundly hit me in Senior Pastor Stovall Weems preaching Sunday was that the church was holy ground, but not just church property (which certainly is sacred space), but, the body of Christ, we are also holy ground. The Kingdom of God on earth is holy ground. I had a revelation in a new and profound way what “kingdom” meant in Biblical terminology, history, culture. I came away with a new understanding of how I am a citizen of the that holy kingdom right here on earth.

I had a deeply insightful revelation of myself as a child of the King. Now, even in the earthly realm, a king can have many children. Solomon did. Many kings of old did. My heavenly Father has billions of children and I am one of them. I’m a daughter of the King. I’m in His family. I am family to the King and this just tickles me and I’ve never felt that before. I have the right to sit at His table…and He’s got a big table. This became more real to me than it ever has before, and it was such an enriching, uplifting, and fun experience.

Pastor Stovall went through a list of things that are holy ground, that perhaps we don’t have enough reverence for. I can’t give you his exact list, but here is my list: communion, water baptism, Christian schools and colleges, Christian radio and TV stations, and yes, yes Christian homes.  My home and the homes of all saints are holy ground and to be treated as such. At the end of the service, Pastor Stovall blessed everyone’s home. This was particularly meaningful to me as I just moved into a new condo. When Pastor Stovall gave the blessing, I felt as if the King was in the sanctuary…His Holy Spirit was…and that my home was indeed blessed, thoroughly blessed.

Celebration Church

 

 

European Street @Park Street in Riverside ~ a restaurant review

 

 

I’m late writing this review since I went to the European Street Cafe on Park Street/Riverside  in the winter. I was cold that day and immediately asked for coffee. The very nice waitress brought it right away with half and half. I don’t know if I wasn’t thinking due to the cold, but I wanted plain milk. So, I asked and she brought that. The coffee was very good, warmed me. [I must note, having once been a New Yorker, cold in Jacksonville, Fl is anything below 50 degrees.]

For lunch, I ordered the Smoked Pastrami Reuben sandwich on black bread with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, which was excellent. There certainly is plenty of meat between the bread slices. The chips were crispy. I finished the meal with carrot cake, which for some reason I didn’t photograph. I probably simply devoured it as it was yummy. My friend ordered a huge cookie with whipped cream. I also didn’t photograph her lunch selection. As I said I was cold and probably grumpy that day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the fun of European Street is browsing the cake display and bottled beer offerings after eating. I’m not a beer aficionado and didn’t purchase any but looking added to the experience

This is an American cafe with a definite German twist.  Casual dining. A good place for robust sandwiches and/or German beer. Frankly, I’m all eyes for their cakes. The prices are very reasonable.

Gator’s Dockside, Baymeadows, Jacksonville ~ restaurant review

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This big boy is their mascot, a chalkboard with specials is behind it.

My author friend and I had business in Baymeadows. We were hungry so we stopped in for lunch. She’s a great fan of the Monte Cristo sandwich which she first had near Buffalo, NY. She said it’s hard to find one in Jacksonville. I’d never had one, so we both ordered it and it came with fries. It’s American and Swiss cheese stacked between wheat bread, and then batter-fried golden brown. It’s covered in powdered sugar and served with raspberry preserves for $11.99. It was very good, filling, and not on my diet.

We were seated in a booth in which the cushions were placed in a wooden frame that was uncomfortable to get in and out of. Once seated, it was very comfortable, but I wanted to limit getting in and out. Next time I’ll sit at a table. Our server was attentive and warm. All of the staff was courteous as far as we could see. When we arrived the place was pretty empty. Two guys were at the bar, a large family was about to leave. About half way through our meal, a few more families came in and sat at tables.

The ladies room was very clean. We weren’t there to watch a game, but it seems it would be a good place to do so.

This review first appeared in Yelp.

8650 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, Fl 32256

904-449-0500

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High-top tables

Gingerbread House Extravaganza, JAX ~ out with the girls

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Moi kissing the Gingerbread Man

I roll with a group of gals calling ourselves Christian Gals Dining & Doing-JAX. Six of us went to see the amazing gingerbread houses displayed at the Jacksonville Historical Society in Old St. Andrews. Tis the season…

The gingerbread houses had already been judged and blue ribbons were given out in several categories. The structures were made of gingerbread and held together with a strong icing. In many cases fonant covered them. Many other candies and foods were used in ingenious ways: candy canes, pretzels, twizlers, marshmallows, life savers, jellied candies, Swiss rolls, bread, cereal, and much more.

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Visitors voted for a “people’s choice type” award. I voted for this one: The Mandarin Garden Club. The work one on it was incredible. If you look through the door, a woman is sitting.

 

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That woman is Harriet Beecher Stowe author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” She lived in Mandarin, a community in Jacksonville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This 1950s Florida ranch home came close to being my “people’s choice.” The house is lit up from withing and people are inside

 

 

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Theater Jacksonville, or the Little Theatre ~ live stage productions

 

 

 

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San Marco Theatre & Grill ~ showing first run movies and offering up eats, beer and wine
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Jacksonville Central Fire Station No 1
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Jacksonville Beach Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps.
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The life story of Jesus. Holding onto the silver knob the exhibit can be rotated from the birth of the Christ Child to the cross.
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The life story of Jesus. Holding onto the silver knob the exhibit can be rotated from the birth of the Christ Child to the cross.

 

 

 

There were so many more to see: the Jaguar den at the zoo, a cabin made by a nine-year-old, the historical Myers and Halstead Farm, a rendition of the North Pole, a scape of little huts by a second grade class, a salute of Jules Verne, and so much more.

 

 

The Hurrican Irma tree with bark from trees and varieouspieces of wood found in the aftermath used as its ornamentation, as well as photos of the destruction.

Trinity Baptist Trunk & Treat ~ such fun

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Deborah’s trunk

 

I went to the Trinity Baptist Trunk & Treat event tonight to support my two gal pals Lyn Wood Rix and Deborah Williams (translation = eat their candy). They both decorated the trunks of their cars and gave out sweets, as other adult members of the church did.

 

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Lynn’s trunk

 

Parents and children from the church and surrounding community vote on the best looking trunk and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are announced at the end. Trinity Babtist is a church, a private school academy, and a Christian college.

 

 

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Parents with children in costumes (some parents in costume too) lined up and walked from trunk-to-trunk receiving candy
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Parents and kids getting refreshments, on the right kids receiving candy, behind blow-up structures (slides, etc.)

Trintity Baptist Church

Trinity Baptist Academy

Trinity Baptist College

 

 

Visiting the Jacksonville Zoo ~ gorgeous autumn day

 

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Moi and this beautiful lady scarecrow

 

 

 

My gal pal Deborah Williams and I took off for the Jacksonville Zoo yesterday. And what a great time we had in perfect fall weather.

 

 

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Deborah in the pumpkin patch with another beautiful lady scarecrow

 

 

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King of the jungle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Python

 

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Giraffe feeding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moi on the carousel

 

 

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This guy wasn’t impressed at all that his photo was being taken. I leaned in pretty close and he didn’t bat an eye. Like, “Lady, your the 59,362nd person to snap my picture.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THAT SPECIAL ONE ~ Hurricane Irma and brownies

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What on earth has my new release, THAT SPECIAL ONE, got to do with Hurricane Irma and brownies. Read on and find out…

Last week, with Hurrican Irma bearing down on Miami at something between a category 4 & 5, I sat at my laptop furiously trying to finish final editis before the storm reached Jacksonville. It was a race against time, trying to get my first attempt at a New Adult novella published on Amazon (downloaded) before JEA ran into serious service problems.

Alas, due to the high volumne of downed trees and flooding, the power went out in nearly all of Jacksonville. My next door neighbor was kind enough to run an extension chord from his generator to my refrigerator. That still meant, no lights, no a/c, no TV or audio system, no Wi-Fi, and manual toilet flushing for three days as the temperatures climbed (is that too much info?).

After three days, the power did come back on. I think I must’ve looked and felt much like Jonah had after three days in the belly of the great fish. The upside was, I was able to continue with edits offline…but, still no Wi-Fi. I couldn’t download the novella to Amazon. Finally, the Wi-Fi came back on and I was able to launch THAT SPECIAL ONE.

Where do the brownies come in? I made a batch for my very kind next door neighbor who shared electricity from his generator with me. When I handed him the plate full of brownies, he broke out into a huge smile and said, “I’ll have to pour a glass of milk.”

THAT SPECIAL ONE in a nut shell…

New Adult Contemporary Christian Romantic Suspense

College freshman Ivy Chalmers moved in with her aunt and uncle in Arroyo, Texas. She needed to get away from her alcoholic and weed smoking mother.  Ivy longed for a different life than the revolving-door-men in her mom’s life. Making a one-eighty, she vowed not to make a serious dating commitment unless she knew it would be that really ‘special relationship ‘.

Corey Jones had been the man in his house since age twelve, when his alcoholic dad abandoned him and his mom. Once in a while, his dad showed up trying to extort money from them using threats. Then his blue-haired, self-centered cousin Ava came to live with them and the way she treats his mom enrages him.

Ivy is thrilled when she meets an upper classman from a neighboring college and thinks he might be ‘that guy.’ When she is horribly betrayed, her world is thrown upside-down, and she plunges into a depression.  In a steady and kind of clumsy way, Corey is there for her during her worst moments. But his family is plagued with alcoholism, the life she had with her mom, the life she ran away from. What’s wrong with her that she attracts the wrong guys? As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s an arsonist terrorizing their tiny village.

Purchase on Amazon.

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